Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dealing With Blight

The Pennsylvania House Urban Affairs Committee held a public hearing this morning at Point Park University on the status of a fairly new law to deal with blighted and abandoned properties. Yesterday, there was a summit with workshops on tools available for municipalities and elected officials.

Andrew Menchyk, solicitor with the Redevelopment Authority of Butler County, says his group has filed six actions under the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act, which took effect in early 2009 to allow petitioners in the Court of Common Pleas to take control of problem properties that meet certain criteria, e.g., have not been occupied, have not paid taxes, and constitute a danger in terms of fire or illicit activity.

Irene McLaughlin, consultant to the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, says most new laws are tested in the courts and may need further legislative work before they can be implemented as lawmakers intended, so it is important that the House Urban Affairs Committee keeps reviewing the status of the law.

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